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Felinexpress.com Home > Cat Health > Cats and Bad Breath

Cats and Bad Breath

Cats can eat the strangest things that can leave their breath stinky. But if it is only food they have issues with, the bad breath will soon vanish. For a health issue, the bad breath will linger giving the cat owner an early clue that something might be wrong. Just like humans’ battle with gingivitis and other gum diseases, cats face the same fight especially if they are allowed to go outside. Natural hunters, outside cats will prey on rodents, frogs, bugs even snakes. All of these can add up to some pretty stinky breath. Bacteria builds up in the mouth, untreated this bacteria will attack the gums causing gingivitis or worse. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums).

In severe cases cats can get stomatitis, a painful and debilitating disease. Untreated, stomatitis can lead to death. Because cats are gulpers and not chewers they swallow most of their food whole. Owners can be oblivious that their cat is suffering from any type of dental disease. Bad breath, blood in the food bowl or finding a piece of tooth on the ground where the cat was eating are clues that your kitty is in trouble. If you notice your cat has bad breath that lingers, you should call your vet.

What causes bad breath in cats?

Bad breath can also be the result of:

  • Gingivitis (or tartar build-up)
  • Oral tumors
  • Infection
  • Calicivirus
  • FeLV,
  • Kidney failure (CRF)
  • Rodent ulcers
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Accidental poisoning
  • Stomatitis

Signs that a cat has bad breath:

If you don’t get close enough to kitty on a daily basis to smell her breath, there are other signs that your cat might be in trouble:

  • Drooling
  • Licking food instead of chewing
  • Shaking head vigorously
  • When eating, the cat tilts her head to one side or another while chewing
  • Grinding of teeth while eating
  • Vocalizations while eating
  • Blood in food bowl
  • Inability to open mouth very wide and refusal of her to let you open her mouth
  • Slimy, brown drool or pus appears in mouth
  • No more head bumping or rubbing
  • Sudden bouts of aggression
  • Hiding
  • Pain when swallowing
  • When swallowing food, the throat extends out as kitty swallows

On the flip side, if your cat has sweet-smelling breath, this may be the first sign of the onset of diabetes mellitus.

Treatment for bad breath:

First off take your cat to the vet for evaluation. Once your vet has examined your cat, he may order other tests; blood-work, blood chemistries, x-rays, cultures even biopsies if needed. Antibiotics or steroids may be prescribed. Depending on the findings tooth extractions, pain medications even cutting-edge laser surgery might be scheduled.

If your cat has bad breath, don’t try and mask it with special breath mints made for pets or by brushing your cat’s teeth until after kitty has gone to the vet for an evaluation. Chronic bad breath or halitosis can signal an ongoing severe health issue. Untreated, it can ultimately lead to tragedy for both you and your cat.

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